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The Body Has a Mind of Its Own: How Body Maps in Your Brain Help You Do (Almost) Everything Better

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  407 ratings  ·  54 reviews
In this compelling, cutting-edge book, two generations of science writers explore the exciting science of “body maps” in the brain–and how startling new discoveries about the mind-body connection can change and improve our lives. Why do you still feel fat after losing weight? What makes video games so addictive? How can “practicing” your favorite sport in your imagination ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published September 11th 2007 by Random House
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(showing 1-30 of 1,093)
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Leticia
I read several comments about this book before I bought it, and those were mainly in the context of dance and movement science.

You could easily go two ways with a neuroscience book like this. You could read it purely for the information and interest factor, which would be fine. It would be a nice, joyous, easy read, and you'd learn a whole lot of things that you would soon forget. You would probably also not talk to many people about it because it's a weird sort of topic.

Or, if you're like me, y
...more
Marsha
For some reason I found this book extremely fascinating. I listened to the audio book twice, then I got the print version. It explains how your brain perceives your own body, how that process is somewhat distorted, and how problems with body maps and body perception can affect our lives. Despite how that might sound, it's not a psychological treatise about how we should all love our bodies and somehow find a better body image through self acceptance. The book is scientifically oriented. I really ...more
Rachel
Great book for those who are interested in science but don't want to deal with all the jargon. I usually only read fiction, so you know a book is good when non-fiction can hold my attention. This book is filled with fascinating case studies and facts about ways the body and mind are connected not only within oneself but even the peripheral space around us! I can't say I will be a better runner or be able to "almost anything better" from reading this book, but I definitely understand it more and ...more
Tom Söderlund
Firstly, a sad chain of examples of human ignorance in the form of unnecessary animal testing. Secondly, an interesting insight into brain's workings. Thirdly, useful background info for meditative, out-of-body, loss-of-body, locked-body, etc experiences.
Courtney
Very interesting book. Provides a nice perspective of the whole body, the interactions between mind and body, and some useful information about the organization of the human brain.
Katherine
I bought this at a craniosacral therapy class I went to a few months ago. I gave it five stars partly because the subject is fascinating to me because of being a PT, but I think anyone who wants to know how their brain works would find it really fascinating as well.

My absolutely favorite chapter was ch. 10, which was about the brain maps of the internal organs, which are found in a part of the brain called the insula. It talks about how people with good interoception (the ability to read and int
...more
Cera
Jan 14, 2009 Cera rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cera by: Trip
This was a good overview of what is currently known about the way that the brain understands and tracks the body through a variety of maps -- and how, when the body or the brain is damaged, odd things can result due to the disconnection between the maps & reality. I was particularly fascinated with some indications that anorexia is correlated with a body mapping problem that's detectable through a simple experiment, which makes me wonder if you could detect people who are at risk for develop ...more
Leslie
Fascinating stuff. I have fibromyalgia, where the brain registers exaggerated pain that shouldn't be happening. It turns into this agonizing, endless feedback loop between the brain and the areas of the body in pain. Interrupting that loop is the key and so far, they haven't found a reliable, effective way to do that. I'm certainly no doctor, but for awhile I've been thinking that this particular area of brain science may very well be the direction that may lead to some help with this maddening ...more
Bob Nichols
This is an unusual book. It's largely boring but with many gold nuggets tucked inside. Cognition, value and body are tied together. "Meaning," the authors say, is rooted in agency (acting and choosing) and agency "depends on embodiment." Feedback from bodily movements provide meaning that become "maps" within. We talk about muscle memory but memory is lodged in the brain as motor maps. Perception is active. It is predictive and we fill in the gaps with what we have learned before. People do have ...more
Julie
FAAAASCINATING. Honestly, I kept pestering Kent, "Listen to this..." and then reading a paragraph or two. It's about the science of how the brain and body connect. We have "body maps" in our brain, that tell us exactly where our body parts are, and how they are doing. (This is why we can touch our nose with our eyes closed.) It doesn't sound interesting, until you read what this means, in practical applications. And the stuff about how our homonulcus (body maps) go awry is just astonishing.

Body
...more
catherine
in the afterwards, the authors apologize to the researchers for glossing over any details of their work for this presentation to a general audience. i think they should have apologized to the reader for presenting such obviously diluted reporting. it's an extremely interesting topic but so horrible presented in this book. the authors should have assumed that their reader knew nothing of the subject, but were intelligent. good science writing needs to explain the research, not reduce it, for the ...more
Grumpus
This is based upon the audio download from [www.audible.com].

Narrated by: Kate Reading

It was an decent book and while I did find it interesting as I listened to it, there were only a couple of things that really stood out in terms of recall. As the title says, it’s about how your brain maps your body and brain flexibility.

What I recall most is a condition called the “yips” and that reflexology seems to provide a truly effective connection to the brain.

Yips is a movement disorder that is associ
...more
Cameron
This book is better than I expected. There is a lot of news about body maps so I thought it might just be a rehash of the mainstream knowledge. And in fact, the first half is basically just that. Our brain has physical locations of nerves on the outside of the Cortex that map directly to specific locations of the body, creating a sophisticated map called a Homunculus. The author does a nice job of outlining the research that led up to these findings and how the brain functions with these maps. S ...more
Jason
This was a very interesting book. I learned about brain function that I was unaware of previously, mostly the "Body Maps" in the sub-title. The discussion of how the two body maps (one for tracking the space we can reach and another for moving are different body parts in that space) work and the, sometimes mystifying, cases of when they fail to work correctly is illuminating. Under the heading of failures phenomena from the yipps to anorexia are covered. Also, the ruminations on where does consc ...more
Pauline
This is my second read-through of this book, which I discovered while studying material on neuroplasticity in people who've had brain injury or deficiency and recovered most of their faculties through specific retraining of the brain by neuroscientists. The focus of this book, however, is devoted to how the brain judges our body-sense. By that I mean, how does the mind suddenly go from just judging the motions of your body to including the motion and direction of tools as part of the "self", suc ...more
Heather
I listened to this as an audiobook. It started out a bit slow, and to be honest, it could probably have been a bit shorter. But by the end of the book, I had learned some really interesting things about the interactions between our brain and body. It described a lot of interesting disorders caused by flawed body maps in the brain, and interesting stuff on phantom limbs, biofeedback to manage pain, and using mental imagery to improve performance. All in all, a worthwhile read.
Marjorie Barks
I took a psychology class in high school back in 1969. In 1987 I took a brain theory class as part of my teaching credential requirements. I was impressed then by how much more we knew about the human brain that we had 18 years before.

The title of this book intrigued me, so I gave it a try. I found it an amazing look at hour our minds "map" where we are and what we're doing. Things I take for granted, such as feeling around in my purse for my keys or a tube of lipstick and thinking, "No, that's
...more
Stephanie
I wouldn't recommend it, very boring and full of story telling instead of facts.
Cynthia
Mar 16, 2011 Cynthia rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any interested in neurological science
Recommended to Cynthia by: this is a library book
A little sciency, and would have been easier to read if I was more knowledgeable of the geography of the human brain. Fascinating though, especially since I did not realize how integrated all the parts of the brain are, and how they interconnect to give feedback regarding our place in time and space. I was interested to read about the plasticity of the brain and that neurons or connections do continue to grow and develop in response to new and challenging situations, even as we age.
jenne
Dec 28, 2007 jenne rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: aspiring neurosurgeons
i love reading books about the brain. this is the first book that ive read that has been able to marry neurons to action and make sense of the purely chemical reactions that make us alive. its missing a star because the authors missed a vital connection with the concept of bodymaps to spirituality and annoyingly chalked up belief to something less than nothing. that aside, totally facinating and now im more hyperaware of my personal space and senses than ever before (for better or worse.)
h
Dec 24, 2012 h rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
as someone with no neuroscience vocabulary, i found the tone of this to be great: informative, humorous, and not overwhelmingly technical. since i have a deep interest in how emotional, mental, and physical systems are integrated, i found this fascinating and awesome. all kinds of interesting trivia but doesn't neglect the how-does-it-all-fit-together bigger questions. touches on everything from sports to video games to dance to meditation to creativity. highly recommended pop science.
Nick
This is a breezy, popular account of a good deal of brain research. The authors' basic take is that we create 'maps' of reality, our bodies, our experiences, and so on, and use those to navigate the often treacherous waters of everyday life. Some of the brain research is quite old, and the authors push the idea of maps too far -- beyond what they really can explain -- but overall this is an excellent, quick way to get up to speed on the modern research.
Ian Young
Fantastic book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading. For anyone who has an interest in how the mind works, you will enjoy. All the latest information on the inner workings of the brain are presented in an easy to understand way. It introduced to me grid maps, place maps, mirror neurons and other brain functions and tied them to observable behaviours.
hannah
Why couldn't this have been my final gen ed science credit, rather than the neuro class that I'm taking? So well explained, and for people like me who might be smart and interested, but certainly don't have science-wired brains. Definitely a fun read, especially when I recognized some of the illusions from television shows, like "House." Sweet!
Kasey
I think the title is somewhat misleading, making it sound somehwat like a self-help book, if it contains any of that it wans't in the first 2/3 of the book. I have to be honest, I didn't finish it. I am fascinated by neurophysiology and found the information interesting, but still a bit like reading a textbook citing many studies.
Phillip
I really did like this book. It would fit comfortably on the shelf between a set of X-Files DVDs and the work of Wayne Dyer. Like with the work of Dyer, I am always interested in what the book has to say. I believe a good deal of what it has to say. But, there is a point to which I feel like my leg is being pulled.
Carolyn
This book is chock full of fascinating snippets- for instance, did you know that your tongue can be taught to see? Or that anorexia can be treated by donning a neoprene catsuit? See, this is why I adore reading books about neuroscience; that's where all the truly bizarre stuff is happening. It really is a good read.
matt sakaguchi
this is a fascinating book on neuroscience that shows how critical body maps kept in the brain are to the human experience. it cites some illuminating studies, such as how certain conditions like anorexia can actually be explained as a problem with a physical body map, not a pure mental disorder.
Gloriavirtutisumbra
This takes all those basic things you read about in an Intro to Psychology textbook and takes it to the next level. It discusses many new research discoveries and presents possible future ideas in the study of how our brains interact with our bodies. A nice chatty pop science book.
Elizabeth
from the library
I also got the audiobook on CD's and copied it onto tape for studying.



There are so many types of pain. I wan't silly to insist on teaching my students about different types of pain. When I master this material I will teach about even more types of pain.
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“Many people seeing the sensory homunculus for the first time comment on (even object to) how small the genitals are. They expect that these organs would merit an allotment of territory commensurate with their sensitivity and the disproportionate mindshare they command. The confusion comes from the multiple meanings of the word "sensitive." Sensitive can refer to high acuity. Your fingers, lips, and tongue are sensitive in this sense: generously packed with somatic receptors of every type, able to make extremely fine discriminations. Your genitals are extremely sensitive in a different sense. A penis and a clitoris can tell the difference between one finger and two, but they can't read Braille.” 1 likes
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